Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has faced mounting questions and critiques on how she would pay for Medicare for All, told a crowd at a town hall event in Iowa on Sunday those details are forthcoming.
Warren has established herself as a fierce proponent of a single-payer health care system, but she has not gone as far as her ideological counterpart, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in admitting that the plan will result in taxes going up for middle class Americans.
The presidential hopeful told a crowd at a town hall event in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday that she will soon release an outline detailing the plan to fund the system, which by some estimates could cost over $60 trillion in the next decade.
“We need to talk about the cost, and I plan, over the next few weeks, to put out a plan that talks about specifically the cost of ‘Medicare for All’ and specifically how we pay for it,” Warren told the crowd.
“I think there have been many estimates about what the cost will be, and many different payment streams, and I’ve been working on how to give the exact details to make that work,” she told reporters:
Warren adviser on Friday: "[Warren’s] taxes as they currently exist are NOT enough yet to cover fully replacing health insurance.”
Warren today: "I've been working for a long time on this question about what the cost will be and how to pay for it." pic.twitter.com/quq7e0GjVF
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 20, 2019
Moderators – in more than one Democrat debate – have asked Warren if she would raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for Medicare for All. Each time, the Massachusetts senator has offered notoriously evasive responses, talking about overall “cost” rather than directly explaining if taxes will go up for the middle class.
Moderators presented her with the same question during last week’s Democrat debate, and Warren went to her go-to talking point, arguing that overcall costs will go up for the “wealthy and big corporations” and go down for middle-class families.
That answer sparked criticism from Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who slammed Warren for repeatedly dodging the question.
“Well, you heard it tonight. A yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer,” he said.
“Look, this is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular,” he continued. “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything — except this.”
Warren would not budge in the spin room following the debate, telling the panel, “My commitment is I will not sign a bill into law that raises costs on middle class families.”
Sanders, on the other hand, has been very open about the cost of his plan. While he also believes that it is about overall “costs,” – arguing that middle class Americans will ultimately save money due to health care costs supposedly going down – he admitted last month that health care is not free.
“Now having said that, is health care free? No, it is not,” Sanders told late-night host Stephen Colbert last month. “So what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person’s income. You make less than $29,000, you pay nothing in taxes.”
“Above that, in a progressive way with the wealthiest people paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes,” he continued. “But if I say to you, that right now you’re paying $20,000 a year in a tax called a premium for insurance companies. That’s gone.”